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1AC

The spectre haunting politics is power in an era where the state has become predatory
and the populace disillusioned, we must analyze politics without party and powers
beyond the state
Newman 10 (Saul Newman, Professor of Political Theory at the University of London at Goldsmiths,
2010, The Politics of Postanarchism, pub. Edinburgh University Press, pp. 104-107)
in much contemporary continental
theory we find a series of themes, preoccupations and debates which bear a strong resemblance to those of anarchism.
Amid the ruins of Marxism or at least of a certain institutionalised and statist form of it there is a desire among many thinkers today
to develop new categories and directions for radical politics. There is the attempt , first, to find new forms
of radical political subjectivity no longer based on the Marxist notion of the proletariat. There is a recognition that such a category
is too narrow to express the different forms of oppression, modes of politicisation and ways of relating
to one's own work and existence that make up the contemporary world. However, there is also the recognition of the inadequacy of the
ultimately liberal notion of 'identity politics' that characterised much new social movement theory. What is called for is new way of thinking about how, and
by what processes, a subject becomes politicised how does the subject become an egalitarian and
collective subject? Secondly, there is, among many thinkers today, a rejection of authoritarian modes
of political organisation for instance, the centrally organised Marxist-Leninist vanguard party which would lead the proletariat to
revolution, or the Communist and socialist parties in capitalist countries which sought to play the
parliamentary game, thus abandoning any hope of emancipation from the state. There is a need, then, as Badiou would put it,
for a politics without a party new forms of political organisation that are no longer structured
around the model of the party, as the party always has as its aim the reproduction of state power.
Related to this, therefore, is the question of the state itself: the immovability of state power, despite
the revolutionary programmes which promised its 'withering away', and, moreover, the increasingly
authoritarian character of the so-called liberal democratic state, show us that the state remains
perhaps the central problem in radical politics. Radical thought, therefore, sees politics increasingly as being
situated beyond the state there is a desire to find a space for politics outside the framework
of state power, a space from which the hegemony of the state would be challenged. It seems to me that these
themes and questions political subjectivity beyond class, political organisation beyond the party and
political action beyond the state relate directly to anarchism. If these are the new directions that
radical politics is moving in, then this would seem to suggest an increasingly anarchistic orientation.
Indeed, this is a tendency that is being borne out in many radical movements and forms of
resistance today. The emergence of the global anti-capitalist movement in recent times suggests a
new form of politics, one that is much closer to anarchism in its aspirations and tactics, and in its decentralised,
democratic modes of organisation. Also, the insurrections in Greece in December 2008 which had an explicitly anarchist identification are indicative of this libertarian moment in
radical politics. It would seem that the prevailing form taken by radical politics today is anti-statist, anti-authoritarian
and decentralised, and emphasises direct action rather than representative party politics and lobbying.
Furthermore, is it not evident that there is a massive disengagement of ordinary people from normal
political processes, an overwhelming scepticism especially in the wake of the current economic
crisis about the political elites who supposedly govern in their interests? Is there not, at the same
time, an obvious consternation on the part of these elites at this growing distance, signifying a crisis
in their symbolic legitimacy? As a defensive or pre-emptive measure, the state becomes more
draconian and predatory, increasingly obsessed with surveillance and control, defining itself through
war and security, seeking to authorise itself through a politics of fear and exception . How should
radical political thought respond to this situation, lagging behind as it so often does reality 'on the
ground'? My contention is that anarchism or more precisely postanarchism can provide some
answers here. Indeed, anarchism might be seen as the hidden referent for radical political
thought today: while its importance is scarcely acknowledged amongst the thinkers referred to above, anarchism can nevertheless offer critical
resources for radical political theory, allowing it to transcend many of its current limitations and,
indeed, providing it with a more consistent ethical and political framework.
We observe a similar silence about anarchism in more recent radical political thought, that which comes in the wake of poststructuralism. Indeed,

The resolution asks us to bring a set of practices into the law, sustaining the
omnivorous nature of state power while simultaneously obscuring it. Legalization of
weed or organ sales are particular questions that are only legible once we have
interrogated the foundational question: who has the power to legalize?
We reject the juridico-sovereign dialectic of prohibition and legalization. The 1AC is an
immanent, agonistic contestation of the law; an unruly space of resistance carved from
its very heart that withers away any first principle governing existence.
Newman 12 (Saul Newman, Professor of Political Theory, Goldsmiths, University of London,
Anarchism and Law: Towards a Post-Anarchist Ethics of Disobedience, Griffith Law Review (2012)
Vol. 21 No. 2)
I do not want by any means to rule out the possibility of a stateless society without law, nor suggest
that people are incapable of organising their lives on a voluntary and cooperative basis. Indeed, there
can be no conception of anarchism without taking this possibility seriously. What may be questioned, however, is the idea that this
order is somehow immanent within social relations and based on natural foundations. Instead, I would propose a shift of ground or, better
yet, a shifting ground or groundless ground on which to base the possibilities of
disobedience, resistance and insurrection. One way to think about this is through a reconfiguring of
the idea of anarchy. I have thus far discussed two contrasting figures of anarchy: one is that which forms the background to the law, the Hobbesian anarchy of lawless violence which provides, in legal
theory, the justification for the law (here we could also include the anomic condition of the state of exception, which is a kind of anarchy of the law); the second is the anarchist reading of anarchy, which refers to societys
capacities for independent, peaceful and autonomous self-organisation beyond the state and the law. The problem with these two conceptions as different as they are is that they are both essentialist and assume a certain

we could think about a form of ontological anarchism or


an-archy, referring to a deconstruction or displacement of absolute foundations and essential
identities including those that found the order of law, and those that found the order of post-law.
Here, Reiner Schurmann refers to the withering away of arche invoked in Heideggers idea of the
closure of metaphysics. Unlike in metaphysical thinking, where action has always to be derived from
and determined by a first principle, anarchy ... always designates the withering away of such a rule,
the relaxing of its hold.56 Importantly, Schurmann distinguishes this notion of anarchy, or the anarchy principle, from the classical
anarchism of Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin and others, who sought to displace the origin, to substitute the rational power, principium,
for the power of authority, princeps as metaphysical an operation as there has been.57 In other words, classical anarchists sought to abolish legal-political authority, yet they proclaimed
image of social relations, one dark and violent, the other harmonious and rational. Instead of this,

another kind of authority in its place: the epistemological authority of science and the moral authority of society. Thus, in place of the state, there emerges a more rational form of social organisation. By contrast, according to
Schurmann: The anarchy that will be at issue here is the name of a history affecting the ground or foundation of action, a history where the bedrock yields and where it becomes obvious that the principle of cohesion, be it

An-archy, in this sense, would destabilise the


ontological ground of legal authority, but it would also displace the scientific, rational authority of the anarchist critique of law. An-archy thus involves a
questioning of the sovereignty of all guiding principles. Absolute foundations are deprived of
normative power, and they can no longer easily serve as a natural basis for the establishment of a new
system of rules and institutions. This does not mean that post-sovereign, post-legal forms of
organisation are impossible, simply that in posing the question of political alternatives we cannot
necessarily rely on what we believe to be the authority of natural laws, absolute moral principles, biological foundations or a universally understood
rationality. Conclusion: Post-Anarchism, Law and the Politics of Disobedience The an-archic displacement of ontological foundations gestures towards a post-anarchism by which I understand not a movement
beyond anarchism, but a deconstructive movement within anarchism, which at the same time asserts the ontological contingency of politics as an ongoing contestation of structures and practices of power. Postanarchism, as I have discussed above, draws upon certain insights of post-structuralist thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (as well
Heideggerian thinkers like Schurmann) in particular, the displacement of stable, unified identities, the discursively constructed
limits of social reality and the productive and pervasive functioning of power . I suggest that, despite the problems this analysis poses
for the naturalism and rationalism of nineteenth-century anarchism, post-structuralism shares with anarchism an anti-authoritarian ethos,
characterised by a desire to interrogate power and to unmask the violent and hierarchical relations
hidden within not only institutions (certainly the law), but also everyday discourses, practices and social
norms that we often regard as apolitical.59 Therefore, poststructuralism can be seen as a form of
anarchism, one that continues and extends the terms of the anarchist critique of authority (even to the ontological
grounds that underpinned classical anarchism), and that converges with other strands of radical thought and politics that emerged with
May 68, broadly characterised as the New Left, including Situationism, the Provos and Autonomists. Central here is a decentralised politics of
spontaneous revolt and autonomous direct action an anarchic politics of flux and desire as opposed to the Marxist
and Leninist paradigm of class struggle centrally coordinated by the party. Yet, where a post-structuralist-inspired (or post-)anarchism
differs from classical anarchism is in its recognition that the struggle against power cannot be an all-or-nothing event that
expresses the totality of social forces and promises the universal liberation of humanity .
Rather, it has to be seen in terms of localised, differentiated, partial, fragmented forms of resistance
authoritarian or rational, is no longer anything more than a blank space deprived of legislative, normative, power.29

taking place within and against the order of power, on a field of multiple struggles , strategies and
localised tactics an ongoing antagonism without the promise of a final victory or universal
emancipation. As Foucault puts it: Instead there is a plurality of resistances, each of them a special case:
resistances that are possible, necessary, improbable; others that are spontaneous, savage, solitary,
concerted, rampant, or violent; still others that are quick to compromise, interested or sacrificial; by
definition they can only exist in the strategic field of power relations .31 But what implications does this have for thinking about law and about
practices of resistance and disobedience? I would highlight, briefly, two key points that emerge with a post-anarchist approach. The first concerns the relationship between law and power relations . One of the
limitations of classical anarchism was to see power largely in terms of sovereign legal and political
authority namely, the state and therefore to not be able to take sufficient account of the complexity of power relations. As is well known, Foucault argued that what he called the juridicosovereign image of power, where power was understood in terms of law, prohibition
and repression the power to say no obscured the pervasive, multiple and
productive nature of power in the modern age, particularly in its disciplinary and biopolitical forms. Law is by no means displaced or
replaced by power, according to Foucault; rather, under the regime of disciplinary and biopower, law increasingly
functions to produce the norm. Yet this realisation at the same time suggests a more nuanced
approach to the law on the part of those who rebel: the absolute rejection of the law and authority does not necessarily
solve the problem of power or provide us with any language to contest the limitations and constraints,
the new forms of normalisation that may emerge in a post-legal society, limitations that may perhaps
in their own way be just as coercive as law, precisely insofar as they are not explicitly stated or codified. What is required, then, is an
ongoing, agonistic contestation of both power and law, in which their limits are continually tested and
interrogated. In other words, anarchists can never rest assured that just because they have
transcended legal authority in a new form of community life, they have forever removed the potential for domination; the
radical horizon of the transcendence of the law opened up by Benjamins divine violence at the same time demands a continual reflection on the ethical limits of the power and the invention, as Foucault would put it, of new
practices of freedom as a patient labour giving form to our impatience for liberty.33 Moreover, if liberty is more productively seen as an ongoing practice or agonistic labour, rather than an eternal state, then we should
consider the possibility of strategic mobilisations of particular laws for instance, human rights laws, as inadequate as they are against particular relations of power and practices of domination.34 If an anarchist ends up in

It is possible that, at times, laws can be used to defend existing spaces of


freedom and even open up new ones. This suggests a certain pragmatism with regards to practices of
resistance and disobedience: working both against the law and, at times, with it; working inside and outside, and opening up
heterogeneous and unruly spaces of resistance within the law itself .35 Second, such practices of
resistance and freedom take place on the ethical terrain of justice, which can be seen in terms of an anarchic
displacement of the law.36 Here, the thinking of Emmanuel Levinas is useful for developing a critique of the sovereignty of legal and political institutions. For Levinas, anarchy
describes the ethical encounter with the Other an encounter that disturbs the sovereignty of selfcontained identities, and particularly of sovereign institutions. However, Levinas distinguishes his
concept of ethical anarchy from anarchism which, as a form of politics, establishes a new arche; as
we have seen, it established the principle of rationality the rational organisation of the social order
in the place of the irrational political authority of the state. Levinass understanding of anarchy points once again to the idea of the disturbance of
ontological foundations. It is a notion of anarchy that unsettles the natural foundations of the anarchist community,
but it also unsettles the arche of the state and the law. Thus it is radically different from the anarchy
of the state of nature, which foreshadows the emergence of state authority , or from the anomic condition of the exception, whose
lawlessness (mythic violence in Benjamins terms) shores up the law. Levinasian anarchy, in other words, is something that transcends the
binary between law and anarchy. The notion of anarchy as we are introducing it here has a meaning
prior to the political (or anti-political) meaning currently attributed to it. It would be selfcontradictory to set it up as a principle (in the sense that anarchists understand it). Anarchy cannot be sovereign like an arche.
It can only disturb the State but in a radical way, making possible moments of negation without any affirmation. The State then cannot set itself up
as a Whole. But, on the other hand, anarchy can be stated.37 So anarchy is not in itself a politics; it does
not propose a particular form of social organisation, nor even any specific political strategy. Rather, it
is only what disturbs the state and the law from the outside. Indeed, anarchy is that which
disturbs any political order. But this does not mean that it has no political effects.38 It is a kind of
ethical distance from politics which nevertheless disturbs the political order, opens it up to the Other
that exceeds it, and this is a political gesture. Anarchy keeps alive the very necessary tension or
moment of suspension between ethics and politics, preventing one from being eclipsed by the other.
In this sense, it is the very condition for doing politics in an ethical way . It is what opens
political practices and discourses to an ethical questioning as to their own limits, exclusions and
authoritarian potentiality. I am not suggesting that anarchy understood in this way should replace anarchism. On the contrary, I would say that this deconstructive spirit of anarchy is
implicit in the anti-authoritarianism of anarchism itself, even if it does at the same time exist in tension with its own foundationalism. Moreover if, as Derrida suggests, justice is
what exceeds the law, what opens its structures up to the Other, that which unsettles legal authority or
front of a judge, presumably they will want a good lawyer.

the laws self-authorisation, then we can say that anarchism is the political philosophy most closely
aligned with justice.
Voting aff is an endorsement of the creation of a space beyond the law, a simultaneous
process of DISOBEDIENCE and EXIT. Faced with the injunction to be technicians
refining the machinery of power, we instead desert our roles, an exodus that asserts our
power to legalize whatever practices we desire.
Noterman and Pusey 12 (Elsa, Program Associate at the Community Strategies Group of the Aspen
Insitute, Andre, PhD candidate in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds, UK, Inside,
Outside, and on the Edge of the Academy: Experiments in Radical Pedagogies in Anarchist
Pedagogies: Collective Action, Theories, and Critical Reflections on Education, pp. 192-194)
how do we build this new kind of open and ephemeral institution? We think it is important to open up
spaces in which we can both experiment with, and critically reflect upon, radical
pedagogical practices. The crisis of the university is a crisis that throws up new openings and
possibilities for what a university could be. These spaces can work toward pushing the boundaries of
the academy by concretely asking, what can a university do? in praxis. We need to engage in a discussion about how we can go forward as
critical-radical researchers inside, outside and on the periphery of the academy. Is there any place for us within the institution as it is? Or as Stefano Harney and Fred Moten (2004) suggest, is the only
possible with the relationship to the university today... a criminal one? This opens up the
question/possibility of what Virno terms exodus, but which might also be described as desertion.
This is not a territorial exodus, or a fleeing from, but rather a desertion of ones assigned role, in this case of the critical yet
docile body (Foucault, 2004) of the academic. As Harney and Moten (2004) put it, to be in but not of is the path of the subversive intellectual in
the modern university. In part, the Really Open University is an experiment in just this. The creation of spaces in which we can begin to
interrogate the role of the university and of the academic, not just as theoretical exercise, but
within an implicitly antagonistic, yet not wholly reactive, space of political engagement. This
is a messy space that avoids any pure politics, or identitarian overcoding , neither overtly anarchist,
nor Marxist, nor simply an anticuts group, yet neither a purely utopian reimagining. This is
necessarily a cramped space, of (im)possibility, as Deleuze (2005) states, creation takes place in bottlenecks.
Many elements of the edu-struggle will ultimately want to close down the categories again, in order to
give more weight to their ideological underpinnings, trying to make the moment fit their politics,
rather than seizing the moment in all its wealth of potentiality . The ROU views crisis as possibility arguing that it is up to us to decide [the
universities] future. But through what concrete actions might we actually develop a really open university? One
way to begin may be through the occupation of the spaces where we work, play and consume, and the
reappropriation of this time and space for our own (common) ends. This may help to promote new lines of
questioning and open up new connectivities. One way to discuss this occupation and reappropriation,
might be the literal forced reclamation of space, though direct action. This has, of course, been a tried and tested method across history, and we have seen the tactic of
So,

occupation has begun to some extent become popular again, with the recent occupations at universities across the UK, but to a much larger extent across Europe and the United States. We think there is an interesting dynamic,
however, between defensive and offensive uses of occupation. We do not wish to set up a binary, but rather are interested in the qualitative shifts and activities that can occur within the occupied space itself, rather than simply
the obstructive element of occupation. This problematic has been explored in the U.S. occupations movement through the often heated debate about the utility of political demands, versus occupation without demands. For
example, Occupation mandates the inversion of the standard dimensions of space. Space in an occupation is not merely the container of our bodies, it is a plane of potentiality that has been frozen by the logic of the

Another way to discuss the occupation and reappropriation of time and space
might be through the creation of new spaces that prefigure the new forms we may wish a
reimagined university to take. A concrete example of this is the model of the autonomous social center, or infoshop, found within anarchist and autonomous activist practices
commodity (Inoperative Committee, 2009).

(Atton, 1999). Social centers are place-based, self-managed spaces. They can be squatted, rented or cooperatively owned (Pusey, 2010). A particularly rich history of social centers can be found in Italy, but they exist all across
Europe. In the United States the closest approximation to the autonomous social centers seems to be the network of radical bookstores and infoshops such as Red Emmas in Baltimore and Bluestockings in New York City
(Kanuga, 2010). Some academics at the University of Lincoln are attempting to develop a cooperatively run social science center that utilizes a social center type autonomous space, where they can practice radical pedagogical
methods (Winn, 2010). The idea is that students will be able to enroll for free and staff will still be paid. We can imagine, based on our experiences and research within social centers in the UK, that this would be controversial
within anarchist circles, both for its relationship with the institution of the university, and also because of its payment of academic staff. Payment for some roles performed within some spaces has been a source of much debate
and contention within social centers within the UK (Chatterton, 2008). "These spaces generally rely on the good will and free time of volunteers. However, many spaces cite burnout and lack of participation as major issues
within social centers (UK Social Centres Network, 2008). The dole autonomy (Aufoeben, 1999), which helped facilitate earlier cycles of struggle, has been very much weakened with successive government attacks on the

It is, perhaps,
through the establishment of self-organized alternative educational practices, and open and
ephemeral institutions that we can start to value ideas for their own merit, rather than capitalist valueto create
spaces and places where we can discard the price tags of commodified knowledge and
instrumental learning, and instead appreciate the value of ideas and concepts
themselves, while rediscovering the subversiveness of teaching.
welfare state, and students increasingly forced to take employment while studying means that there are far fewer people around with the free time to help enable projects such as these.

Liberalism tries to seize control of the state and direct the flow of history; a suturing of
the subject infected by the possibility for fascism. Against this we affirm an anarchy of

becoming a micropolitical reconfiguration of the subject that shatters the possibility


of domination
Call 2 (Lewis, Associate Professor of History at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, 2002, Postmodern
Anarchism. Lexington: Lexington Books, pp. 47-56)
But the usual suspects have another, much more serious problem. Even if postmodern liberals can reject Nietzsches assaults on capitalism and the liberal stateand it is easy enough to locate passages in Nietzsches books
where he seems to contradict these assaultsthose who would use Nietzsche to shore up the eroding foundations of liberal democracy must contend with the even more powerful and radical forms of anarchy which are to be
found in Nietzsches thought. They must contend, for example, with Nietzsches well-known anarchy of the subject. A number of commentators have pointed out that one of Nietzsches main contributions to political thought is
his destruction of the conventional concepts of human subjectivity which lie at the basis of most modem political theories. Keith Ansell-Pearson suggests, for example, that the Genealogy aims to show that one of the central

the subject is not


simply or unambiguously the self which establishes its unity, freedom, independence and self-transparency.52 And the assault on
conventional (i.e., post-Enlightenment) ideas of subjectivity is not simply a metaphysical or epistemological issue. It
is also a deeply political issue which has profound implications for the construction of political
theories and institutions. Those implications do not bode well for liberalism. Mark Warren summarizes the problem nicely:
Because liberals put a metaphysical placeholder in the space of the individual, they failed to theorize
this space. As a result, they justified liberal forms of the state in terms of a historically conditioned
effect mistaken for a universal essence. This is why Nietzsches understanding of nihilism in Western
culture as the collapse of the individual as agent also implicates the individualistic metaphysics of
liberalism.53 Nietzsches assault on modem subjectivity, then, undermines the philosophical
foundations of the liberal state. After Nietzsche, liberals find themselves thrown into a confusing
postmodern world of multiple subject positions and decentered identities. They are forced to try to
develop a new kind of liberal politics, one which will not rely upon epistemologically suspect
categories of individuality. This is, as we have seen, a difficult task, and one which liberals rarely complete in a satisfying way. Let us now look in more detail at Nietzsches anarchy of the subject.
ideas of moral and political theory, that of a human subject in possession of conscience and a free will, is not a natural given.51 William Connolly points out that after Nietzsche,

Nietzsche famously regarded the free will which is central to most conventional notions of subjectivity as an egregious error. For example, he notes in Human, All Too Human that we do not accuse nature of immorality when
it sends thunderstorms and makes us wet: why do we call the harmful man immoral? Because in the latter case we assume a voluntary commanding free will, in the former necessity. But this distinction is an error.54 Here
Nietzsche seems to be advocating a kind of radical determinism: he views individual actions not as the product of some chimerical free will, but rather as the indirect product of the social and cultural forces which have
constituted the individual who performs those actions. Of course, this has radical implications for political theory. If we understand individual actions as the product of the society and culture which produced the individual,

How is it that every execution


offends us more than a murder? Nietzsche demands. It is the coldness of the judges, the scrupulous
preparation, the insight that here a human being is being used as a means of deterring others. For it is
not the guilt that is being punished, even when it exists: this lies in educators, parents, environment,
in us, not in the murdererI mean the circumstances that caused him to become one.55 This is a key point for the postmodern
anarchist. If we accept that humans possess no metaphysical, presocial essence, if we accept that they
are little more than nodal points where various social, economic, and cultural forces converge to
produce the illusion of subjectivity, then the punishment schemes of the liberal state make no sense.
then society is quite literally to blame for what its members do. This naturally renders conventional ideas of punishment radically incoherent.

Indeed, on this reading it would make more sense to execute the system itself, since it is the system that is guilty of manufacturing criminals. Revolutionaries who follow this kind of interpretation would also, perhaps, be less
likely to allow their uprisings to descend into the kind of mindless terror which was, unfortunately, to be found in abundance in France during the 1790s, in Russia during the 1920s and 1930s, or in China during the 1950s. I
say this because the radical denial of free will applies to the rulers as well as the ruled. This point was made, remarkably enough, by Bakunin, who observed in 1869 that the kings, the oppressors, exploiters of all kinds, are as

Let the guillotine be


deployed, then, not against aristocratic or bourgeois tyrants, but against the philosophy of subjectivity
which gives such tyrants their power in the first place. Nietzsche continues his assault on traditional forms of subjectivity and consciousness in Beyond Good
guilty as the criminals who have emerged from the masses; like them, they are evildoers who are not guilty, since they, too, are involuntary products of the present social order.56

and Evil, questioning whether there must necessarily be something that thinks, that thinking is an activity and operation on the part of a being who is thought of as a cause, that there is an ego, and, finally, that it is already
determined what is to be designated by thinkingthat I know what thinking is.57 An obvious assault on the old Cartesian concept of subjectivity (I think, therefore I am), Nietzsches critique of consciousness also has
dramatic political meaning. These thinking egosthe rational, autonomous subjects who have dominated political discourse since the Enlightenmentare supposedly the beings who vote in liberal elections, who serve on the
liberal juries which decide the fate of the supposedly autonomous criminals who stand before them, who use the media to inform themselves about issues so that they may form rational opinions, and so on. In short, a whole
host of liberal theories and institutions depend upon a certain idea of subjectivity which is, after Nietzsche, extremely difficult to sustain. This anarchy of the subject makes possible another, possibly even more radical form of

If Nietzsche is right about the status of the subject in the late modern period and an entire
then we must radically rethink
what it means to be human. Previous concepts of subjectivity (and thus previous political theories) focused on being: I am
this autonomous person, I am this rational citizen of a liberal democracy. Nietzsche shifts our
attention to becoming. If, as he argues, the subject has no firm metaphysical ground and no center, if
indeed our subjectivity is in a constant state of flux, then the meaning of our lives must be constantly
changing. It is, of course, somewhat alarming to think that we might have no fixed being, that our essence (if we have one) must reside in a constant stream of transformations. However, the thought of
becoming can also be a very liberating thought. All radical thinking demands change, and Nietzsches demands
more than most. To the conventional radicals demand for social and political change, Nietzsche adds
the demand for a change in our very consciousness, in the way we view our relationship to time and
history. In this sense Nietzsches thought stands as one of the most radical ever conceived, for it
asserts nothing less than this: change is the very heart of who and what we are. And this is true, says Nietzsche,
anarchy, an anarchy of becoming.

tradition of twentieth-century Continental philosophy suggests that his analysis is at least presciently persuasive with regards to the postmodern period

not only of ourselves but of our world. If the world had a goal, it must have been reached. If there were for it some unintended final state, this also must have been reached. If it were in any way capable of a pausing and
becoming fixed, of being, if in the whole course of its becoming it possessed even for a moment this capability of being, then all becoming would long since have come to an end, along with all thinking, all spirit. The fact of
spirit as a form of becoming proves that the world has no goal, no final state, and is incapable of being.58 For Nietzsche the world has no teleology, no destination. The forces of history do not direct us toward a Zeitgeist

Conventional radicals who


find themselves dismayed at the seeming invincibility of ossified states and entrenched economic
structures might find Nietzsches thought invigorating in this respect, for the philosophy of becoming
named Hegel. Indeed, if Hegel was the preeminent philosopher of the state, Nietzsches philosophy of perpetual becoming can only herald the states demise.

assures us that nothing is permanent. Oppressive institutions and reactionary ideas will not endure;
these institutions and these ideas are, like the people who created them, nothing more than streams of
becoming. The philosophy of becoming thus suggests that we are in a state of permanent and total revolution, a
revolution against being.59 Becoming also implies the kind of radical personal responsibility which
is so crucial to anarchist theory. We, however, want to become those we arehuman beings who are new, unique,
incomparable, who give themselves laws, who create themselves.60 Nietzsche views humans not as
finished beings but as works of art, and specifically works in progress. The philosophy of becoming
implies a single ethical imperative: become who you are, create yourself as a
masterpiece. And as Nietzsche argues, this involves creating ones own law. Needless to say, this kind of
radical individual legislation is hardly compatible with the legislative system of any statist order . It is thus
misleading to suggest, as Bruce Detweiler does, that the philosophy of becoming means that the Lefts cry for social justice is based upon an error.61 Detweiler should say that the orthodox Left suffers from this error. The
postmodern Left embraces becoming, and refuses to formulate its emancipatory policies in terms of epistemologically suspect categories of subjectivity. This may seem strangewhom are we liberating?but it is the only way

while this postmodern revolutionary thinking may be odd, it is not


impossible. The revolutionary possibilities of becoming have been conceived most clearly by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus. All becoming is becomingminoritarian, they tell us; becoming-minoritarian is a political affair and necessitates a labor of power, an
active micropolitics. This is the opposite of macropolitics, and even of History, in which it is a question of knowing
how to win or obtain a majority.62 This micropolitics is crucial to any postmodern political agenda. The Left must learn once and for all the
lessons of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao: macropolitical action, however well-intentioned, does not
produce meaningful liberation. The attempt to seize control of the state, to direct the
flow of history in the name of some ill-defined class of supposedly rational proletarian
subjects, is doomed to failure. But this by no means heralds the end of radical thought. It simply
means that we must refocus our attention on the possibilities of postmodern anarchism. Common
sense, the unity of all the faculties at the center constituted by the Cogito, writes Deleuze, is the State
consensus raised to the absolute.63 But this consensus is confronted by counterthoughts, which are
violent in their acts and discontinuous in their appearances, and whose existence is mobile in
history.64 Nietzsches thought of becoming is certainly such a counterthought. Its effect is not to encourage the reform of the state or the seizure of state power but rather to abolish the conditions of thinking which
make the state possible in the first place. The micropolitics implied by the philosophy of becoming suggests that our primary
duty is to reprogram or redesign ourselves, creating ourselves anew as the kind of beings
who can legislate new values and inscribe new laws. Interestingly, then, the anarchy of the subject proclaimed by Nietzsche does not by any
means imply the end of our responsibility to constitute ourselves as subjects.65 Out of the critical anarchy of the subject, there emerges an
equally powerful but affirmative anarchy of becoming, one which understands humans not as
beings with fixed essences but rather as selves-in-process. Of course, the implication of this for state institutions is quite dire: such institutions run the risk
of becoming entirely irrelevant once these processes of becoming and self-transformation proceed past a certain point. As Rolando Perez astutely observes, the overman or over(wo)man
is she who no longer needs the State, or any other institution, for that matter. She is her own creator of
values and as such the first true an(archist).66 There is, of course, a danger here. The move toward an anarchy of
becoming is an extraordinarily radical one, both politically and epistemologically. Like all such moves, it carries with it this risk: if all essence, all
fixed being, all laws of states and subjects are to be swept away in the torrent of becoming , can we be sure that this
torrent will not carry us into some dark quagmire? Can we avoid, for example, the danger of becoming-fascist? This is a genuine danger, especially if (following Deleuze) we
begin to suspect that what lends fascism its terrifying seductive power is its ability to operate at an
almost cellular level: what makes fascism dangerous is its molecular or micropolitical power, for it is a mass
movement: a cancerous body rather than a totalitarian organism.67 The real horror of fascism grows
not, perhaps, out of the fact that it can seize power at the macropolitical level; any state can do that.
What is peculiarly horrific about fascism is the way that it penetrates the smallest nooks and crannies
of the social organism. Rural fascism and city or neighborhood fascism, fascism of the Left and fascism of the
Right, fascism of the couple, family, school and office: every fascism is defined by a micro-black hole
that stands on its own and communicates with the others, before resonating in a great, generalized
central black hole.68 At the microscopic level, fascism is able to divert many of the
supposedly liberating streams of personal becoming, sucking them down into the
seemingly irresistible gravity-well of an ethical-political black hole. Is this the limit of becoming? Must we conclude that
for radical thinking to avoid the traps of modernist political theory. And

becoming is bordered by a law after alla visceral, pretheoretical law which says simply, I will not give myself over to the fascist inside me? Perhaps. But I do not believe that this constitutes a fatal flaw of anarcho-becoming.
The possibility of fascism does not strip becoming of its anarchistic implications. Rather, microfascism should be understood as the limit which defines becoming, grants it a definite (albeit fluid and flexible) shape, and
prevents it from dissipating into a politically meaningless gasp of chaos. Foucault reminds us that the limit and transgression depend on each other for whatever density of being they possess: a limit could not exist if it were

I would say of anarcho-becoming and


microfascism what Foucault has said of transgression and the limit. They have a definite relationship
not dialectical, to be sure, but spiraling. The threat of microfascism is what motivates anarchobecoming, what makes it possible, and indeed what completes it. Anarcho-becoming is thus locked in
absolutely uncrossable and, reciprocally, transgression would be pointless if it merely crossed a limit composed of illusion and shadows.69

a permanent duel with microfascism, but ironically this duel is actually crucial to the anarchy of
becoming, for it is what channels and focuses that anarchy into a coherent program of political selfcreation. By granting the anarchy of becoming something to define itself against, microfascism takes a
strange forcewhich might otherwise exhaust itself in futile, formless rageand transforms that force
into a powerful postmodern political agenda. Kill your inner fascistthis single, minimal limit
opens up incomprehensibly vast vistas of becoming , for there are surely a billion ways to
fulfill this prescription. And it is a prescription which comes not from the mind but from the viscera as
Nietzsche would surely be delighted to observe. Anarchy of the subject, anarchy of becomingNietzsche lays the foundations for some of the most unique and innovative varieties of anarchist thinking which are to be found in
modem political theory. And yet the usual suspects would be quick to point out that there are powerful elements of Nietzsches thinking which seem to undermine those foundations. Is not der Ubermensch some kind of acting
agent who hopes to impress his will upon human history? And (even more troubling for the postmodern anarchist) doesnt Nietzsches thought, despite all the rhetorical force of its drive towards becoming, return eternally to a
deep concern for being? Nowhere are these twin problems made more manifest than in the works of Martin Heidegger. We must grasp Nietzsches philosophy as the metaphysics of subjectivity Heidegger provocatively
declares.70 Nietzsches thought has to plunge into metaphysics because Being radiates its own essence as will to power; that is, as the sort of thing that in the history of truth of beings must be grasped through the projection
as will to power. The fundamental occurrence of that history is ultimately the transformation of beingness into subjectivity.71 Heideggers deeply disturbing political commitment to the Nazi party makes it tempting, of course,
to dismiss his reading of Nietzsche as reactionary. A subject-centered Nietzscheanism which dams up the river of becoming in a futile attempt to isolate the elusive essence of Beingsurely, says the postmodern anarchist, this
is nothing more than a limit case which shows the extreme ethical and epistemological dangers inherent in the totalitarian liberal consensus of the usual suspects. Yet such a dismissal is too easy. Jean-Francois Lyotard, one
of the foremost French postmodern radicals, has persuasively insisted that one must maintain both assertionsthat of the greatness of [Heideggers] thought and that of the objectionable nature of [his] politicswithout
concluding that if one is true then the other is false.72 For Heideggers thought is great: it provides useful answers to many interpretive questions regarding Nietzsches philosophy, and it helps to tease out some very
interesting answers to some of the most stubborn riddles in Nietzsches writing.73 Controversial and problematic though it is in some ways, there is much to recommend Heideggers interpretation of Nietzsche as the last
metaphysician in the West. For the postmodern anarchist, what is most valuable in Heideggers reading of Nietzsche is precisely this point: Nietzsche stands at a crucial transition point in the intellectual history of the
Western world. He is simultaneously the last metaphysician and the entry into postmodemity. This limits the radical potential of Nietzsches thinking in one sense, for it means that Nietzsches philosophy must contain
elements of a very traditional metaphysics. Yet the unique dual identity of Nietzsches thought also provides that thinking with a multifaceted theoretical versatility which makes it more radical, in another sense, than any
previous philosophy. Yes, the metaphysics of subjectivity lingers in Nietzsches writings, and yes, those writings are haunted by the specter of Being. No one knew this better than Nietzsche. Perhaps this is why he chose to title
his second book Die Unzeitgemasse Betrachtungen. Typically translated as Untimely Meditations, this title has also been rendered somewhat less accurately (but perhaps more interestingly, for our present purposes) as
Thoughts Out of Season. This is the essence of Nietzsches thought, to the extent that it can be said to have one. He simultaneously concludes the project of Western metaphysics, and begins to think thoughts whose time has
not yet come. I know my fate, Nietzsche declares in a section of Ecce Homo which the humorless commentator might overlook simply because it is entitled Why I Am a Destiny. One day my name will be associated with the
memory of something tremendousa crisis without equal on earth.74 And Nietzsche is quite careful to emphasize that this is a specifically political crisis: it is only beginning with me that the earth knows great politics.75
We should not let Nietzsches playful bombast obscure the fact that he is, to a certain extent, right about this. Nietzsches thought does indeed mark the beginning of great politics. Particularly in France, some of the best and
brightest minds of the twentieth century have dedicated substantial portions of their intellectual careers to the project of articulating this new radical politics. Deleuze and Derrida, Baudrillard and Bataille, Lyotard and
Foucault have gone to great lengths to turn the sketch for a postmodern anarchism which is to be found in Nietzsches writings into a full-fledged political philosophy. For Nietzsche himself, however, postmodern anarchism
must remain an agenda for the future. His thought continues to be captive to the metaphysical tradition which it completes. He must leave it to others to articulate the full meaning of the political and philosophical position

Like all the great radical thinking of the nineteenth century,


Nietzsches thought is utopian. It develops a devastating critique of the world as it is, and dreams of a
better future. But the construction of that future is for those who follow. So: Nietzsches thought,
which explodes all manifestations of the conventional political subjectits rationality, its language, its
thoughts, its theories, its states, its economicsstands at the origin of the subversive counteridea
which I call postmodern anarchism. Such an anarchism represents a tactical use of Nietzsches
thinking, not (as the usual suspects propose) to shore up the rapidly eroding theoretical foundations of liberal
democracy but rather to finish off that withered remnant of subject-centered post-Enlightenment
politics, in order to open up a space for something more interesting. Postmodern anarchism asserts
that the problems which face us today are not the result of flaws in our political structures which can
be alleviated through reform or through the seizure of state power. Rather, the problem lies in
the structures themselves, and in the epistemologies which sustain those structures .
Nietzsches anarchy of the subject makes it quite clear that our culture is to blame for the sorry state of
affairs in which we find ourselves. Following this guilty verdict, modem political culture in general and
liberal political culture in particular may expect to receive a death sentence . The liberals warn that this way lies madness.
We say: we cannot know what may lie further down this river of becoming. But at least
we know that it will be radically different from the disastrous political situation in
which we find ourselves presently. Perhaps the greatest appeal of postmodern Nietzschean anarchism lies in the fact that it runs little risk of falling into the theoretical and
toward which the twin anarchies of subjectivity and becoming clearly point.

political traps faced by all merely modem revolutions. Marxism and nineteenth-century anarchism criticized capital, bourgeois values, and the liberal statebut they did so using the language, the terms, and the theoretical
tools of the very bourgeois order they sought to undermine. Lenin and Mao sought to reshape the state into something which could sanction genuine political and economic freedom, but they retained so many of the old forms
that they ended up reproducing the old varieties of repression and exploitation. The problem for revolutionaries today, as Deleuze argues, is to unite within the purpose of a particular struggle without falling into the despotic

We seek a kind of war machine that will not re-create a state apparatus, a
nomadic unit related to the outside that will not revive an internal despotic unity . Perhaps this is what is most profound in
Nietzsches thought and marks the extent of his break with philosophy, at least so far as it is manifested in the aphorism: he made thought into a machine of
wara battering raminto a nomadic force.76 As always, it is the performative effect of Nietzsches thought, rather than its explicit content, which concerns
and bureaucratic organization of the party or state apparatus.

us. And one crucial effect of his thinking is that it removes philosophy from the horizons of the state. This is an event which is unprecedented in the history of Western thought. And it is an event whose ramifications will

Just as news of the death of God takes a long time to reach us, so too does
news of the death of the state. But word of these deaths draws inexorably nearer. For no God
and no state can hope to survive a full engagement with that thinking which detonates
all fixed human identities and reveals as mere phantasms of consciousness all fixed
politics, economics, and culture.
continue to be felt for some time.

Politics that does not begin with the creation of the self is doomed to reactivity and
ressentiment. This inscribes hatred into the place of power, reaffirming existing
structures of domination.
Newman 2k (Saul, Professor of Political Theory at the University of London at Goldsmiths, 2000,
Anarchism and the Politics of Ressentiment, Theory and Event, 4:3)

Ressentiment is diagnosed by Nietzsche as our modern condition. In order to understand ressentiment, however, it is necessary to understand the relationship between master morality and slave morality in which

the way we interpret and impose values on the world


has a history -its origins are often brutal and far removed from the values they produce. The value of 'good', for instance, was invented by the noble and highplaced to apply to themselves, in contrast to common, low-placed and plebeian.[3] It was the value of the master -'good' -as opposed to that of the slave -'bad'. Thus, according to Nietzsche, it
was in this pathos of distance, between the high-born and the low-born, this absolute sense of superiority, that values were created.[4] However, this equation of good and
aristocratic began to be undermined by a slave revolt in values . This slave revolt, according to Nietzsche, began with the Jews who instigated a
ressentiment is generated. Nietzsche's work On the Genealogy of Morality is a study of the origins of morality. For Nietzsche,

revaluation of values: It was the Jews who, rejecting the aristocratic value equation (good = noble = powerful = beautiful = happy = blessed) ventured with awe-inspiring consistency, to bring about a reversal and held it in the

'Only those who suffer are good, only the poor, the powerless, the
lowly are good; the suffering, the deprived, the sick, the ugly, are the only pious people, the only ones, salvation is for them alone, whereas you rich, the noble, the powerful, you are eternally wicked, cruel,
lustful, insatiate, godless, you will also be eternally wretched, cursed and damned!'....[5] In this way the slave revolt in morality inverted the noble system of values and began to equate good with
the lowly, the powerless -the slave. This inversion introduced the pernicious spirit of revenge and hatred into the creation of
values. Therefore morality, as we understand it, had its roots in this vengeful will to power of the powerless over
the powerful -the revolt of the slave against the master. It was from this imperceptible, subterranean hatred that grew the values subsequently associated with the good -pity, altruism, meekness, etc.
Political values also grew from this poisonous root. For Nietzsche, values of equality and democracy, which form the cornerstone of
radical political theory, arose out of the slave revolt in morality. They are generated by the same spirit of revenge and hatred of the powerful. Nietzsche
teeth of their unfathomable hatred (the hatred of the powerless), saying,

therefore condemns political movements like liberal democracy, socialism, and indeed anarchism. He sees the democratic movement as an expression of the herd-animal morality derived from the Judeo-Christian revaluation
of values.[6] Anarchism is for Nietzsche the most extreme heir to democratic values -the most rabid expression of the herd instinct. It seeks to level the differences between individuals, to abolish class distinctions, to raze

To Nietzsche this is bringing everything down


to level of the lowest common denominator -to erase the pathos of distance between the master and slave, the sense of difference and superiority
through which great values are created. Nietzsche sees this as the worst excess of European nihilism
-the death of values and creativity. Slave morality is characterized by the attitude of ressentiment -the resentment and hatred of the powerless for the powerful. Nietzsche
sees ressentiment as an entirely negative sentiment -the attitude of denying what is life-affirming,
saying 'no' to what is different, what is 'outside' or 'other' . Ressentiment is characterized by an
orientation to the outside, rather than the focus of noble morality, which is on the self. While the master says 'I am good' and adds as an afterthought, 'therefore he is
bad'; the slave says the opposite -'He (the master) is bad, therefore I am good'. Thus the invention of values comes from a comparison or opposition to that
which is outside, other, different. Nietzsche says: "... in order to come about, slave morality first has to have an opposing, external world, it
needs, psychologically speaking, external stimuli in order to act all, - its action is basically a
reaction."[8] This reactive stance, this inability to define anything except in opposition to something
else, is the attitude of ressentiment. It is the reactive stance of the weak who define themselves in
opposition to the strong. The weak need the existence of this external enemy to identify themselves as 'good'. Thus the slave takes 'imaginary revenge' upon the master, as he cannot act without the
existence of the master to oppose. The man of ressentiment hates the noble with an intense spite, a deep-seated, seething
hatred and jealousy. It is this ressentiment, according to Nietzsche, that has poisoned the modern consciousness, and
hierarchies to the ground, and to equalize the powerful and the powerless, the rich and the poor, the master and the slave.

finds its expression in ideas of equality and democracy, and in radical political philosophies, like anarchism, that advocate it.

[Newman continues . . .]
Has anarchism as a political and social theory of revolution been invalidated because of the contradictions in its conception of human subjectivity? I do not think so. I have exposed a hidden strain of ressentiment in the
essentialist categories and oppositional structures that inhabit anarchist discourse -in notions of a harmonious society governed by natural law and man's essential communality, and its opposition to the artificial law of the

anarchism, if it can free itself from these essentialist and Manichean categories, can
overcome the ressentiment that poisons and limits it. Classical anarchism is a politics of ressentiment
because it seeks to overcome power. It sees power as evil, destructive , something that stultifies the full realization of the individual. Human
State. However I would argue that

essence is a point of departure uncontaminated by power, from which power is resisted. There is, as I have argued, a strict Manichean separation and opposition between the subject and power. However I have shown that this

this desire for power -will to


power -is indeed 'natural', and it is the suppression of this desire that has had such a debilitating effect
on man, turning him against himself and producing an attitude of ressentiment . However perhaps one could argue that this desire for power in man is
produced precisely through attempts to deny or extinguish relations of power in the 'natural order'. Perhaps power may be
seen in terms of the Lacanian Real -as that irrepressible lack that cannot be symbolized, and which always returns to
haunt the symbolic order, disrupting any attempt by the subject to form a complete identity. For Jacques Lacan:
separation between the individual and power is itself unstable and threatened by a 'natural' desire for power -the power principle. Nietzsche would argue that

"...the real is that which always comes back to the same place -to the place where the subject in so far as he thinks, where the res cogitans, does not meet it."[45] Anarchism attempts to complete the identity of the subject by
separating him, in an absolute Manichean sense, from the world of power. The anarchist subject, as we have seen, is constituted in a 'natural' system that is dialectically opposed to the artificial world of power. Moreover
because the subject is constituted in a 'natural' system governed by ethical laws of mutual cooperation, anarchists are able to posit a society free from relations of power, which will replace the State once it is overthrown.

The more anarchism tries to free society from


relations of power, the more it remains paradoxically caught up in power. Power here has returned as
the real that haunts all attempts to free the world of power. The more one tries to repress power, the
more obstinately it rears its head. This is because the attempts to deny power, through essentialist concepts of 'natural' laws and 'natural' morality, themselves constitute power, or at
However, as we have seen, this world free of power is jeopardized by the desire for power latent in every individual.

least are conditioned by relations of power. These essentialist identities and categories cannot be imposed without the radical exclusion of other identities. This exclusion is an act of power. If one attempts to radically exclude

this attempt to exclude and deny power is a


form of ressentiment. So how does anarchism overcome this ressentiment that has shown to be so self destructive and life-denying? By
positively affirming power, rather than denying it -to 'say yes' to power , as Nietzsche would put it. It is
only by affirming power, by acknowledging that we come from the same world as power, not from a 'natural' world removed from it, and that we can
never be entirely free from relations of power, that one can engage in politically-relevant strategies of
resistance against power. This does not mean , of course, that anarchism should lay down its arms and embrace the
power, as the anarchists did, power 'returns' precisely in the structures of exclusion themselves. Nietzsche believes that

State and political authority. On the contrary, anarchism can more effectively counter political domination by
engaging with, rather than denying, power. Perhaps it is appropriate here to distinguish between relations of
power and relations of domination. To use Michel Foucault's definition, power is a "mode of action upon the action of others."[46] Power is merely the effect of one's actions upon the actions of
another. Nietzsche too sees power in terms of an effect without a subject: "... there is no being behind the deed, its effect and what becomes of it; 'the doer' is invented as an afterthought."[47] Power is not a commodity that can
be possessed, and it cannot be centered in either the institution or the subject. It is merely a relationship of forces, forces that flow between different actors and throughout our everyday actions. Power is everywhere, according

Power does not emanate from institutions like the State -rather it is immanent throughout the
entire social network, through various discourses and knowledges. For instance, rational and moral discourses, which anarchists saw as innocent
to Foucault.[48]

of power and as weapons in the struggle against power, are themselves constituted by power relations and are embroiled in practices of power: "power and knowledge directly imply one another."[49] Power in this sense is

It is therefore senseless and indeed impossible to try to construct, as anarchists do, a world outside power. We will
never be entirely free from relations of power. According to Foucault: "It seems to me that...one is never outside (power), that there are no margins for those who break
with the system to gambol in."[50] However, just because one can never be free from power does not mean that one can never
be free from domination. Domination must be distinguished from power in the following sense. For Foucault, relations of power become relations of
domination when the free and unstable flow of power relations becomes blocked and congealed -when it forms unequal
productive rather than repressive.

hierarchies and no longer allows reciprocal relationships.[51] These relations of domination form the basis of institutions such as the State. The State, according to Foucault, is merely an assemblage of different power relations
that have become congealed in this way. This is a radically different way of looking at institutions such as the State. While anarchists see power as emanating from the State, Foucault sees the State as emanating from power.

The State, in other words, is merely an effect of power relations that have crystallized into relations of
domination. What is the point of this distinction between power and domination? Does this not bring us back to original anarchist position that society and our everyday actions, although oppressed by power,
are ontologically separated from it? In other words, why not merely call domination 'power' once again, and revert back to the original, Manichean distinction between social life and power? However the point of this
distinction is to show that this essential separation is now impossible. Domination -oppressive political institutions like the State -now comes from the same world as power. In other words it disrupts the strict Manichean
separation of society and power. Anarchism and indeed radical politics generally, cannot remain in this comfortable illusion that we as political subjects, are somehow not complicit in the very regime that oppresses us.
According to the Foucauldian definition of power that I have employed, we are all potentially complicit, through our everyday actions, in relations of domination. Our everyday actions, which inevitably involve power, are

As political subjects we can never relax and hide behind essentialist


identities and Manichean structures -behind a strict separation from the world of power. Rather we must be constantly on our guard
against the possibility of domination. Foucault says: "My point is not that everything is bad, but that everything
is dangerous...If everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do. So my position leads not to apathy but to a
hyperand pessimistic activism."[52] In order to resist domination we must be aware of its risks -of the possibility that our own actions, even political action ostensibly against domination, can
unstable and can easily form into relations that dominate us.

easily give rise to further domination. There is always the possibility, then, of contesting domination, and of minimizing its possibilities and effects. According to Foucault, domination itself is unstable and can give rise to

So there is always the


possibility of resistance against domination. However resistance can never be in the form of revolution a grand
dialectical overcoming of power, as the anarchists advocated. To abolish central institutions like the State with one stroke would be to
neglect the multiform and diffuse relations of power they are based on, thus allowing new institutions
and relations of domination to rise up. It would be to fall into the same reductionist trap as Marxism , and
to court domination. Rather, resistance must take the form of what Foucault calls agonism -an ongoing, strategic contestation with power -based on
mutual incitement and provocation -without any final hope of being free from it.[53] One can, as I have argued, never hope to overcome power completely -because every
reversals and resistance. Assemblages such as the State are based on unstable power relations that can just as easily turn against the institution they form the basis of.

overcoming is itself the imposition of another regime of power. The best that can be hoped for is a reorganization of power relations -through struggle and resistance -in ways that are less oppressive and dominating.

The classical idea of


revolution as a dialectical overthrowing of power the image that has haunted the radical political
imaginary -must be abandoned. We must recognize the fact that power can never be overcome
entirely, and we must affirm this by working within this world, renegotiating our position to enhance
our possibilities of freedom, This definition of power that I have constructed -as an unstable and free-flowing relation dispersed throughout the social network -may be seen as a nonDomination can therefore be minimized by acknowledging our inevitable involvement with power, not by attempting to place ourselves impossibly outside the world of power.

ressentiment notion of power. It undermines the oppositional, Manichean politics of ressentiment because power cannot be externalized in the form of the State or a political institution. There can be no external enemy for us
to define ourselves in opposition to and vent our anger on. It disrupts the Apollonian distinction between the subject and power central to classical anarchism and Manichean radical political philosophy. Apollonian Man, the
essential human subject, is always haunted by Dionysian power. Apollo is the god of light, but also the god of illusion: he "grants repose to individual beings...by drawing boundaries around them." Dionysius, on the other hand
is the force that occasionally destroys these "little circles," disrupting the Apollonian tendency to "congeal the form to Egyptian rigidity and coldness."[54] Behind the Apollonian illusion of a life-world without power, is the

Rather than having an external enemy -like the State -in opposition to
which one's political identity is formed, we must work on ourselves. As political subjects we must
overcome ressentiment by transforming our relationship with power . One can only do this, according to Nietzsche, through eternal return. To
Dionysian 'reality' of power that tears away the "veil of the maya."[55]

affirm eternal return is to acknowledge and indeed positively affirm the continual 'return' of same life with its harsh realities. Because it is an active willing of nihilism, it is at the same time a transcendence of nihilism. Perhaps

We must acknowledge and affirm the 'return' of power, the fact that it will
always be with us. To overcome ressentiment we must, in other words, will power. We must affirm a
will to power -in the form of creative, life-affirming values, according to Nietzsche.[56] This is to accept the notion of 'self-overcoming'.
[57] To 'overcome' oneself in this sense, would mean an overcoming of the essentialist identities and categories that limit us. As Foucault has shown, we are constructed as essential
political subjects in ways that that dominate us -this is what he calls subjectification.[58] We hide behind essentialist
identities that deny power, and produce through this denial, a Manichean politics of absolute
opposition that only reflects and reaffirms the very domination it claims to oppose . This we have seen in the case of
anarchism. In order to avoid this Manichean logic, anarchism must no longer rely on essentialist identities and concepts, and instead positively affirm the eternal return of power. This is not a grim
realization but rather a 'happy positivism'. It is characterized by political strategies aimed at
minimizing the possibilities of domination, and increasing the possibilities for freedom. If one rejects essentialist
identities, what is one left with? Can one have a notion of radical politics and resistance without an essential subject? One might, however, ask
in the same way, eternal return refers to power.

the opposite question: how can radical politics continue without 'overcoming' essentialist identities, without, in Nietzsche's terms, 'overcoming' man? Nietzsche says: "The most cautious people ask today: 'How may man still be

anarchism would be greatly enhanced as a


political and ethical philosophy if it eschewed essentialist categories, leaving itself open to different
and contingent identities -a post-anarchism. To affirm difference and contingency would be to become
preserved?' Zarathustra, however, asks as the sole and first one to do so: 'How shall man be overcome?'"[59] I would argue that

a philosophy of the strong, rather than the weak . Nietzsche exhorts us to 'live dangerously', to
do away with certainties, to break with essences and structures, and to embrace
uncertainty. "Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into
unchartered seas!" he says.[60] The politics of resistance against domination must take place in a world without guarantees. To remain open to difference and contingency, to affirm the eternal
return of power, would be to become what Nietzsche calls the superman or Overman. The overman is man 'overcome' -the overcoming of man: "God has died: now we desire -that the Superman shall live."[61] For Nietzsche
the Superman replaces God and Man -it comes to redeem a humanity crippled by nihilism, joyously affirming power and eternal return. However I would like to propose a somewhat gentler, more ironic version of the
Superman for radical politics. Ernesto Laclau speaks of "a hero of a new type who still has not been created by our culture, but one whose creation is absolutely necessary if our time is going to live up to its most radical and

Perhaps anarchism could become a new 'heroic' philosophy, which is no longer reactive
but, rather, creates values. For instance, the ethic of mutual care and assistance propounded by Kropotkin could perhaps be utilized in the construction of new forms of collective action and
exhilarating possibilities."[62]

identities. Kropotkin looked at the development of collective groups based on cooperation -trade unions, associations of all kinds, friendly societies and clubs, etc.[63] As we have seen, he believed this to be the unfolding of an
essential natural principle. However, perhaps one could develop this collectivist impulse without circumscribing it in essentialist ideas about human nature. Collective action does not need a principle of human essence to

it is the contingency of identity -its openness to difference, to singularity, to individuality and


collectivity -that is itself ethical. So the anarchist ethics of mutual aid may be taken from its essentialist foundations and applied to a non-essentialist,
constitutively open idea of collective political identity. An alternative conception of collective action may for instance, be developed from a re-articulation of the
justify it. Rather

relationship between equality and freedom. To anarchism's great credit it rejected the liberal conviction that equality and freedom act as limits upon each other and are ultimately irreconcilable concepts. For anarchists,
equality and freedom are inextricably related impulses, and one cannot conceive of one without the other. For Bakunin: I am free only when all human beings surrounding me -men and women alike -are equally free. The
freedom of others, far from limiting or negating my liberty, is on the contrary its necessary condition and confirmation. I become free in the true sense only by virtue of the liberty of others, so much so that the greater the
number of free people surrounding me the deeper and greater and more extensive their liberty, the deeper and larger becomes my liberty.[64] The inter-relatedness of equality and liberty may form the basis of a new collective
ethos, which refuses to see individual freedom and collective equality as limits on each other -which refuses to sacrifice difference in the name of universality, and universality in the name of difference. Foucault's anti-strategic
ethics may be seen as an example of this idea. In his defence of collective movements like the Iranian revolution, Foucault said that the anti-strategic ethics he adopts is "to be respectful when something singular arises, to be
intransigent when power offends against the universal."[65] This anti-strategic approach condemns universalism when it is disdainful of the particular, and condemns particularism when it is at the expense of the universal.

a new ethics of collective action would condemn collectivity when it is at the expense of difference
and singularity, and condemn difference when it is at the expense of collectivity. It is an approach that
allows one to combine individual difference and collective equality in a way which is not dialectical but
which retains a certain positive and life-affirming antagonism between them. It would imply a notion
of respect for difference, without encroaching on the freedom of others to be different -an equality of
freedom of difference. Post-anarchist collective action would, in other words, be based on a
commitment to respect and recognize autonomy, difference and openness within collectivity.
Furthermore, perhaps one could envisage a form of political community or collective identity that did
not restrict difference. The question of community is central to radical politics, including anarchism. One cannot
talk about collective action without at least posing the question of community . For Nietzsche, most modern radical
aspirations towards community were a manifestation of the 'herd' mentality. However it may be
possible to construct a ressentiment-free notion of community from Nietzsche's own concept of power. For Nietzsche, active power is
the individual's instinctive discharge of his [or her] forces and capacities which produces in him [or her] an
enhanced sensation of power, while reactive power, as we have seen, needs an external object to act on and
define itself in opposition to.[66] Perhaps one could imagine a form of community based on active power.
Similarly,

For Nietzsche this enhanced feeling of power may be derived from assistance and benevolence towards others, from enhancing the feeling of power of others.[67] Like the ethics of mutual aid, a community based on will to

openness to difference and


self-transformation, and the ethic of care, may be the defining characteristics of the post-anarchist
democratic community. This would be a community of active power -a community of 'masters' rather than 'slaves'.[68] It would be a
community that sought to overcome itself -continually transforming itself and revelling in the
knowledge of its power to do so. Post-anarchism may be seen, then, as a series of politico-ethical
strategies against domination, without essentialist guarantees and Manichean structures that condition and restrict classical anarchism. It would affirm the
contingency of values and identities, including its own, and affirm, rather than deny, will to power. It
would be, in other words, an anarchism without ressentiment.
power may be composed of a series of inter-subjective relations that involve helping and caring for people without dominating them and denying difference. This

Our act of playful self-creation ruptures the processes of political subjectivization that
make liberal violence thinkable
Clifford 1 (Michael, associate professor of philosophy @ Mississippi State Univ, 2k1 [Political
Genealogy after Foucault: Savage Identities, p. 144-146)
the self is not given to us there is no essential identity around which discourse,
power relations, and modes of subjectivation revolve, but rather the subject is an effect of their
interplay. This recognition of the subject as historically contingent effect, rather than essential, metaphysical entity, leads Foucault
to a Nietzschean conclusion, that we have to create ourselves as a work of art. 60 We have to become
involved in an ongoing process of creative self-transformation, of self-overcoming, in a genuinely
Nietzschean sense. Yet when Foucault says that we have to create ourselves, he is not expressing this as a moral demand; it is, rather, a description of our
situation. Constituting ourselves as subjects is a creative endeavor that involves giving meaning style
to our existence, whether we recognize it as such or not. And Foucault is also extending an invitation: he is inviting
us to open a space of freedom for ourselves, a freedom that consists in affirming ourselves as a
creative force. 61 In abandoning any notion of metaphysical essentiality or anthropological necessity regarding who and what
Foucault's genealogical analyses reveal that

we are, we are able to recognize the creative contribution of the subject in the process of his or her own
self-formation. This recognition itself is a kind of liberation , a distancing from the processes of subjection and subjectivization, through
which the power of a particular identity is suspended. In the affirmation, not of a discourse of truth about ourselves as creative beings,
but of creative activity in and for itself, recognition is no longer a determination. Through this affirmation, identity becomes a game , in which
the relationships we have to ourselves are not of unity and coherence, but of difference and creation.
In this way subjectivity becomes, not a limitation, but an art. Perhaps all this sounds too playful for
the serious business of politics. In fact, this is just the sort of play required to break through,
to fracture, the most oppressive forms of political subjection . A whole range of social
problems, from limitations on social opportunities to declarations of war, are in part attributable to
processes of subjectivization. The constitution of a political identity for ourselves involves the
appropriation of values and beliefs that commit us to certain practices-practices that have real
political consequences. We alternately lament or praise such consequences with little or no sense that
their source lies in part in the arbitrary appropriation or imposition of an identity . We condemn the
persecution of minorities, for instance, but how often do we ever really question the endemic processes of
differentiation and identification that divides human beings along line-limits-of race and gender? War
is the most tragic of human dramas, we say, even when it is necessary to secure our liberty, but to what extent is this necessity
tied to an arbitrary drawing of lines-limits-on a map, to the contingency of a national identity that
marshals troops for its perpetuation? The bigot and the dictator are micro- and macrosymbols of our political subjection. We raise our opposition against them willingly,
enthusiastically, thinking that freedom consists simply of overcoming their petty, or global, tyrannies.
We never think to overcome a much finer, more pervasive, less violent but more
pernicious, quotidian form of subjection; that is, we never think to overcome ourselves.
Political subjectivity is played out every day in struggles of domination and submission. Real freedom,
concrete freedom, consists in fracturing the political identities-our liberalism, our conservatism, our patriotism, our individualism-through
which we are bound to, limited by, rationalities that make these struggles necessary. If we can come to
recognize the optionality and lack of necessity of given forms of political subjectivity, we might have a
point of departure for changing (overcoming) certain kinds of real political relations. If this sounds
utopian or idealistic, we have only to consider that most if not all political conflict in this half-century
can be understood as clashes of identity. Most political movements in the last forty years in the United States can be understood in these terms. 62 Such movements have been
(to some degree) successful in upsetting certain entrenched political identifications that had been the basis of their subjection and domination. The resistance that such movements
have raised against their subjection is predicated on a refusal of a subjectival conceptualization and its
limitations. Moreover, we have seen evidence that such refusals have gained wider social acceptance; they increasingly infiltrate the social structure through institutionalization and demarginalization. Of course,
there are backslidings and retrenchments on a fairly regular basis (consider recent legislation to ban gay marriages, or the platform statement of Southern Baptists that wives submit graciously to the servant leadership of
their husbands). Still, in many instances the political battles over identity-women in the military as a policy (though, of course, in practice sexual harassment and discrimination are still very prevalent), for example-have at
least lifted such movements from the shadows and given them an air of legitimacy.

We must build ourselves away from repressive ideologies of punishment


Call 2 (Lewis Call, Associate Professor of History at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, 2002, Postmodern
Anarchism. Lexington: Lexington Books, pp. 44-47, gender modified
Nietzsches pseudoanarchistic critique of law and custom reaches its zenith in the second essay of On the Genealogy of Morals. This piece is absolutely crucial to the anarchist reading of Nietzsche, a fact which has been

a legal order thought of as


sovereign and universal, not as a means in the struggle between power-complexes but as a means of
preventing all struggle in general . . . would be a principle hostile to life.33 Such a legal order is, of
course, characteristic of all modem, post-Enlightenment liberal democracies. And the epithet hostile to life is perhaps
the harshest denunciation in Nietzsches extensive vocabulary. The tendency toward the universal expansion of the legal order (and the implicit growth
recognized by some of the most important postmodern and poststructuralist anarchists of the twentieth century.32 In this essay, Nietzsche suggests that

of the state system which must accompany such an expansion) thus stands in precise opposition to Nietzsches model for a healthy culture. Nietzsche also emphasizes the arbitrary nature of the states penal schemes.

Against a liberal orthodoxy which would have us believe that the states punishments refer in some
clear, distinct, and rational way to actual crimes, Nietzsche characterizes punishment as a continuous
sign-chain of ever new interpretations and adaptations whose causes do not even have to be related to
one another.34 Like morality, then, punishment is exposed via genealogical critique as a purely contingent and historical
operation. Also like morality, punishment does not lead to the improvement of culture : punishment
tames men, but it does not make them betterone might with more justice assert the opposite.35 As always,
Nietzsche is the master of reversal, taking the dominant interpretation of the legal-judicial-penal complex and subjecting it to relentless critique until it implodes. Few people have recognized the full implications of Nietzsches

It could be that, spiritual or temporal, tyrannical or democratic, capitalist or


socialist, there has never been but a single State, the State-as-dog that speaks with flaming
roars. And Nietzsche suggests how this new socius proceeds: a terror without precedent, in
genealogy of punishment, but Gilles Deleuze has.

comparison with which the ancient system of cruelty , the forms of primitive regimentation and punishment,
are nothing.36 Contra Rorty, Deleuze suggests that the liberal cure of punishment is in fact far more
terrifying than the disease of cruelty. Deleuze also builds upon another crucial theme from the Genealogy's second essay, the theme of indebtedness. Nietzsche
suggests that we feel an enormous debt toward our ancestors, our tribe, our gods; for Nietzsche, the advent of the Christian God, as the maximum god attained so far, was therefore accompanied by the maximum feeling of
guilty indebtedness on earth.37 It is not difficult for Deleuze to transform this critical analysis of cultural debt into a political and economic critique. Deleuze describes the development of feelings of indebtedness as the
growth of reactive forces: the association of reactive forces is thus accompanied by a transformation of the debt; this becomes a debt toward divinity, toward society, toward the State, toward reactive instances.38
Deleuze radicalizes the discussion of the debt by adding a discussion of money: moneythe circulation of moneyis the means for rendering the debt infinite. ... the abolition of debts or their accountable transformation
initiates the duty of an interminable service to the State that subordinates all the primitive alliances to itself.39 In Deleuzes capable hands, the category of the debt becomes the instrument of an extremely radical, and indeed
anarchistic, critique of the state system and the economies associated with that system. Postmodern bourgeois liberals would presumably like to dismiss Deleuzes reading of Nietzsche as an outrageous left-wing polemic
which has no textual basis in Nietzsches writings. But they can do so only by ignoring the extensive critique of bourgeois culture and capitalist values which is present in Nietzsches work, particularly in his earlier books.40 We
find the young Nietzsche making remarks which would have fit quite easily into the nineteenth-century radical tradition. In Daybreak Nietzsche criticizes the privileging of exchange value over use value: the man engaged in
commerce understands how to appraise everything without having made it, and to appraise it according to the needs of the consumer, not according to his own needs.41 This remarkable work even contains a critique of
alienated labor which would find itself quite at home on the pages of the Communist Manifesto. To the devil with setting a price on oneself in exchange for which one ceases to be a person and becomes part of a machine!42
Of course, Nietzsches primary objection to capitalism is not social or economic, but cultural. There exists a species of misemployed and appropriated culturehe tells us in Schopenhauer as Educator. You have only to look
around you! And precisely those forces at present most actively engaged in promoting culture do so for reasons they reserve to themselves and not out of pure disinterestedness. Among these forces is, first of all, the greed of
the moneymakers, which requires the assistance of culture and by way of thanks assists culture in return, but at the same time, of course, would like to dictate its standards and objectives.43 Marx and Bakunin have already
warned of the social injustices which capitalism engenders. Nietzsche adds a cultural dimension to this critique, pointing out that the unrelenting emphasis on profit tends to eclipse more authentic cultural concerns. (Today we
measure the quality of films in terms of their box office receipts and the quality of political candidates in terms of their campaign war chests; Nietzsches critique is probably more relevant than ever.) The young Nietzsche also
denounces the state as the accomplice of these culturally decadent money-makers. Nowadays the crudest and most evil forces, the egoism of the money-makers and the military despots, hold sway over almost everything on
earth. In the hands of these despots and moneymakers, the state certainly makes an attempt to organize everything anew out of itself and to bind and constrain all those mutually hostile forces: that is to say, it wants men to
render it the same idolatry they formerly rendered the church.44 Here the state sounds a bit like Marxs executive committee of the bourgeoisie, but in Nietzsches view the state is actually even more dangerous than that. By
describing the state as an idol, Nietzsche makes it hard to imagine that any state, even a utopian workers state, could possibly provide any meaningful human liberation. And if the state is an idol, then the Nietzschean
philosophers job is to approach it as she approaches all idols: with a hammer. Nietzsche returns to this theme in a famous section of Thus Spoke Zarathustra entitled On the New Idol. Here Zarathustra characterizes the state
as an instrument of the herd. All-too-many are born: for the superfluous the state was invented.45 The state is described as life-denying; as always, this is one of Nietzsches most powerful critiques. State I call it where all
drink poison, the good and the wicked; state, where all lose themselves, the good and the wicked; state, where the slow suicide of all is called life.46 Nietzsches critique of the state in general certainly includes a critique of the

Nietzsche points out a basic contradiction in the


philosophy of the liberal state. While such a state claims to endorse and enforce the rights of the
individual, it cannot avoid creating a homogenizing political culture which will in fact
undermine the possibility of any meaningful individuality . The state is a prudent institution for the protection of
individuals against one another: if it is completed and perfected too far it will in the end enfeeble the individual and,
indeed, dissolve [them]that is to say, thwart the original purpose of the state in the most thorough way possible.47 Of course, the state must attempt at all costs to conceal this fatal flaw.
This is the origin of parliamentary politics, which gives the citizens of a liberal state the illusion that they possess
meaningful political choices. Parliamentarianismthat is, public permission to choose between five
basic political opinionsflatters and wins the favor of all those who would like to seem independent and individual, as if they fought for their opinions. Ultimately,
however, it is indifferent whether the herd is commanded to have one opinion or
permitted to have five.48 This is a telling and quite relevant attack on electoral politics. Nietzsches argument implies that the distinctions between fascism (one permitted opinion),
European-style parliamentary democracy (five opinions), and American federal politics (two largely indistinguishable opinions) are not nearly as meaningful as the liberals would have us believe. Nietzsche
also suggests a very interesting interpretation of voter apathy. If whenever the occasion for using the
vote arises hardly two-thirds of those entitled to vote, perhaps indeed not even a majority of them,
come to the ballot-box, this is a vote against the entire voting-system as such.49 Liberals insist that
widespread voter apathy (fewer than one-third of eligible American voters turn out in many elections) requires us to mobilize the electorate through
voter registration drives and so on. Nietzsches refreshing suggestion is that perhaps a vote is being cast here, namely a
vote to abolish the entire system of false choices and meaningless decisions . Against the party politics of the bourgeois state, Nietzsche
liberal state, and this is something which should worry the usual suspects. In Human, All Too Human,

always advocates independent thought: perhaps there will one day be laughter at that which nowadays counts as moral among the younger generation brought up under parliamentary institutions: namely, to set the policy of

Free, creative thought is for Nietzsche the only possible source of authentic
culture. But such thinking stands in stark opposition to the restrictive cultural and
political consensuses enforced by modern liberal states.
the party above ones own wisdom.50